Toto Wolff, team principal and chief executive of reigning Formula One constructors’ champions Mercedes, has described a no-deal Brexit as “a nightmare scenario” for the series’ British-based teams.
Eight of Formula One’s ten outfits have bases in the southeast of England, and Wolff says the UK leaving the European Union without a deal would provide a big advantage for the likes of Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, who would not be affected by the move.
Like most Formula One teams, those based in the UK employ people with a wide range of nationalities and rely on being able to ship parts, equipment and materials in and out of the EU. Wolff, however, fears that a no-deal Brexit will cause major issues for that operation.
“If a no-deal Brexit happens like it is being discussed, it would have a major impact in terms of our operation going to the races and getting our car developed and ready,” said Wolff. “That is a nightmare scenario that I don’t want to envisage.”
Wolff said that Mercedes, who are based in Northamptonshire, are already making alternative plans for their equipment and staff in anticipation of Britain’s scheduled withdrawal from the EU on 29th March.
"We have certain contingencies in place, like having more stock and thinking about how we would get parts and people in and out of the country," Wolff added, speaking to BBC Sport.
“But it would be a disruption and it would cause all the UK teams a lot of headache, while Ferrari in Italy and Sauber (Alfa Romeo) in Switzerland would have a massive advantage over every UK-based team.”
Mercedes have won the past five drivers’ and constructors’ championships with Britain’s Lewis Hamilton claiming four of those five individual titles.
Britain is still on course to leave on 29th March, although Prime Minister Theresa May has struggled to get support for the withdrawal terms she agreed with the EU.